I watched the movie,’Ultimate Enemies’, with its heart-tearing scenes of the big lion pride predating on elephants in times of drought and I promised myself that I would one day go to Africa; saying to myself , “I must see this”.
Savute, in the southern part of the Chobe area in Botswana, is a bit of a logistical nightmare to visit and thus is not infested with tourists like many of the other Chobe River destinations. Too long a drive on bumpy paths and a lack of facilities for the common tourist makes it a lesser-visited place and a paradise for the budget camper that loves the real deal, like myself. So a wild destination, like Savute, has a chance to stay wild for the moment (although I fear it will attract more visitors just by posting beautiful photos and stories like this).
The area was predicted to have a dry spell this year, but the priceless water showed up again (necessary to attract the animals if you hope to have any sightings at all). The animals are driven to the water, leaving their natural habitat in search of it, however the lion prides tend to be stuck in their own territories. In this remote setting I managed to photograph a lone, young male lion feasting on a left-over elephant carcass, probably killed by the lions that predate on the passing herds of ellies that move up north in drier times.
A breeding herd of elephants passed him eating the carcass and a little mayhem ensued before they left him alone in their hurry to obtain water. At the time of photographing this, the area looked like a killing field with elephant bodies scattered every few hundred meters. Luckily the elephant population is big enough in the area, and the lions must survive, ensuring a delicate balance in this wilderness. Although something like this is tough to watch it is the natural way in an ecosystem that has not been touched too much by human hands – and is real, just like it should be.